A Day In The Life of A KPCB Product Fellow At Uber

We drove down Sandhill Road and pulled up to a tree-lined office building that was reminiscent of a woodsy cabin. I was still a student at MIT Sloan and we were fortunate to have gotten a meeting with Kleiner Perkins during an entrepreneurship pitch trek. As we gathered around a long conference table, each classmate who pitched an idea was given thoughtful and constructive feedback from the partners. Ways to find product market fit, how to run experiments...the insight they offered opened my eyes to the complexities and opportunities within the startup world. When I heard about the KPCB Product Fellows program, I knew I had to apply. I wanted to work somewhere I could have a big impact on the product at a high-growth organization, so when an opportunity to join Uber came along, I jumped aboard. 

 Working with a team of KPCB Fellows at the Twitter Chimehack over summer 2015.

Working with a team of KPCB Fellows at the Twitter Chimehack over summer 2015.

Here’s an example of a typical day as a KPCB Product Fellow at Uber:8:30am - My day begins by dogfooding the product. Every morning, I open my Uber app to request a ride to work, flagging any issues that I come across to our engineering and operations teams. With breakfast in hand, I review global Uber news, metrics dashboards, and prioritize key tasks for the day.
9:00am - Since Uber is such a global company with offices in many locations, I have several video conference calls a day. One of the most relevant ones for my role is the Product Operations call that provides an overview on upcoming product feature updates and allows us to discuss roadblocks and opportunities. 
10:00am - We have a weekly global all-hands meeting with the leadership team. In this meeting, we discuss key metrics in regions around the world, big wins, and progress made on different programs. Our CEO, Travis Kalanick, opens up for Q&A from employees.
11:00am - Individual project teams frequently have quick stand-ups where we discuss our priorities for the day before diving into the work. I jump into completing some high-priority e-mails and schedule any necessary follow up conversations.
12:00pm - We’re fortunate to have catered lunch so it’s easy to grab food with coworkers on the balcony to talk about everything from our upcoming team fitness challenge at work to geeking out about pricing strategy.
1:00pm-4:00pm - This is typically my heads down time where I can get into a flow on analyses to optimize marketing efforts and drive growth, research compilation, playbook creation, creative strategy, partnership outreach, and roadmap planning. It's my favorite time to use my standing desk, which I can’t work without anymore. 
4:00pm-6:00pm - I typically schedule any meetings and brainstorm sessions to check-in on ongoing initiatives at the end of the day as a final push after having some heads down time in the early afternoon.

6:00pm-8:00pm - KPCB often hosts evening events for its Fellows, with everything from an intimate Product talk by Uber’s Head of Product, Jeff Holden, to a holiday party with some of the most well-known names in Silicon Valley. Most recently, I attended the #KPCBinLA event to hear KPCB partners John Maeda and Mike Abbott discuss Design In Tech. Once you're in the KPCB family, you stay in it.

Emil Michaels, SVP of Business at Uber at the KPCB CEO Workshop

8:00pm-9:30pm - This is my chance to finalize any remaining work since the office is mostly quiet at this time. I take some time to plan and prepare for my day tomorrow. It may involve getting up early to attend a summit, such as the KPCB CEO Workshop, which I was fortunate enough to attend this year to meet inspiring leaders such as former Vice President Al Gore and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

 With Al Gore at the KPCB CEO Workshop

With Al Gore at the KPCB CEO Workshop

Ever since joining the KPCB Product Fellows program, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to get mentorship from the partners at KPCB, meet Fellows from schools all over the nation, and teams from such a variety of companies. I’d highly encourage any grad students interested in building a career at startups in Silicon Valley to apply.
Here are some tips for the application process:#1 ) Do your research, build your knowledge baseSince the KPCB Product Fellowship pairs you with a portfolio company, one great way to kill two birds with one stone during the interview and application process is focus your research and write your blog post for the application about a portfolio company that you might be interviewing with. In my case, I did my analysis on Snapchat, but also developed strategy decks for Twitter, One King's Lane and Uber.Read the most recent product management blogs and books to be sure that you're familiar with the frameworks, process, and methodologies that are being used within the industry.#2 ) Develop a POV and communicate your thought processPoints of view are a result of a robust thought process - by thinking through a problem from beginning to end, you ultimately arrive at an educated perspective about what the opportunities are for the future of a product, company, or industry.It doesn't have to be 100% accurate. Even the most experienced and respected leaders in the field are never entirely sure what might work out best. However, what is extremely valuable is your ability to communicate what you think are intelligent approaches, why the ideas you recommend strategically make sense, and how you would arrive at and execute your ideas. People are interested not just in what your ideas are, but more importantly, how you think and problem solve. Practice writing and speaking about your process.#3 ) Connect with other KPCB FellowsWhen I began my research on the fellowship, I reached out to a few different KPCB Product Fellows who were able to give me better insight into how they applied and how the program helped them. Some of those that I reached out to have become friends of mine, so it's not just an opportunity to not just get insight into the program but also to create relationships that help you throughout your career.Interested? Apply now here. More questions? The best way is to reach out to me @victoriahyoung on Twitter. 

Victoria YoungComment